Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Why They Gave

If I could convince you of but one thing, it would be to have the same amount of passion as those who have come before us. Those who did not shut their eyes and ignore the truth, but acted instead. Those who gave it all, as much as they could, to combat human suffering, to battle tyranny, and to lift the standard of liberty to a new level. This entry is dedicated to their existence and their cause.

Arnold von Winkelried who gave it all, that the battle might be won; that the cause might go on.

The students at the Tiananmen Square who knew, without being told, that something was wrong.

Hans and Sophie Scholl, youth who would not give up, even to the end. "Long Live Freedom."

What am I trying to convey? I want to reflect the spark in their eyes, the passion of their hearts, the understanding they had for the Cause.

Here are their stories...

Arnold von Winkelried was a soldier who was fighting to defend his small homeland, Switzerland, from the iron fist of an invasion by Austria. The Swiss were famous for their use of the "pike" a very long spear type of a weapon used in a defensive manner. The Swiss would line up, and turn into a wall of glistening points. Austria, learning from previous engagements as to what the Swiss would do, dismounted from their horses, and used lances in the way the Swiss used their pikes. In the conflict which ensued in the Battle of Sempach the Swiss could not breach the Austrian line. A Swiss soldier by the name of Arnold von Winkelried went on the record as saying, "I will open a passage into the line; protect, dear countrymen and confederates, my wife and children." Arnold then through himself onto the lances of the enemy, creating a hole in the line, and leading to a successful defense. He willingly gave his life, that others might be free.

Above: Arnold von Winkelried threw himself into the wall of spears to create a gap. He gave his life that others might be free.

The Tiananmen Square Conflict. The youth of China in Spring and Summer of 1989 could stay quiet it no longer. They were traditionally the conscience of their nation, and they knew that it was their role to speak out when something must be said. Thousands of students marched to Tiananmen Square, and began to petition the communist government. They called for reforms which included the freedom of the press. They spoke freely, and passionately, and critically of their government. At the climax of their protests, the tyrannical government of China snapped. They militarily took Tiananmen Square, and attacked the unarmed youth, by shooting, and crushing them under the treads of tanks. Three-thousand youth died, and 30,000 were wounded. Many knew this would be the outcome, and many were willing to face it. The world watched in horror as a young man stood in front of a line of tanks. He would have died, if his friends had not pushed him out of the way.

Above: A chinese young adult stands in the path of a tyranical government.

Does the youth of America have the guts to do that?

Hans and Sophie Scholl. While most of the nation trembled in terror in Nazi Germany, two young adults spoke out. Their names were Hans and Sophie Scholl, two young adults, brother and sister. They knew that the price of freedom is sometimes giving up everything. With this in mind, they published a series of essays which denounced Adolph Hitler and his Nazi tyrants, and called for the overthrow of tyrannical government.

Eventually Hans and Sophie were caught, and they were told that what they did was illegal, and unpatriotic. During their mock-trial, they both knew that they were going to be exterminated, because they dared defy the State. Sophie shocked the judges during the trial by saying, “Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don’t dare to express themselves as we did.” The judges, hearing this, proclaimed them guilty as charged. They were going to die. While marching to their deaths Hans slowed, stopped, looked back, raised his fist, and yelled out in a defiant tone, “LONG LIVE FREEDOM!”

And then proudly walked to his fate.

Above: Hans (front right) and Sophie (center) Scholl.

What made them do this? What made them willing to speak, to protest, to die? Was it their selfishness? Their desire to live independently, and do as they pleased? No. It cannot be that, as you cannot reap the rewards of your labor if you do not live to see the harvest. What was the reason? What was this passion? The answer should be clear to us as Christians. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends", John 15:13. The power behind those who sacrifice, is not because of selfishness, it's not because they love themselves; it's because they love others. The love of liberty is the love of others.


Abigail Snyder said...

Wow! I had not heard of many of those! Amazing stories. Good job.

Danny Dymarkowski said...

wow very encouraging... make our struggle here seem like nothing.

climber said...

hey shonnell! steven doesn't have a website but i'm working on him getting one! you can write on mine and i'll let him read...alicia

Barley said...

Very moving. You are a very talented writer! I had not heard of Hans and Sophie Scholl. Very interesting. Good job.

See ya',

Heather said...

i got a new one

Josiah Gerber said...

Shaun, that is amazing! Thank you for a very inspiring post.

Samantha said...


jc_penny said...

Wow, great post. I really liked the one about the brother and sister. If you want really random comment, I have a cousin named Shaun, and another named Shawn, and another named Sean. Shawn is a girl and Sean and Shaun are boys. Confusing! Even more confusing is the fact that Sean has two daughters, Katelynn and Samantha, and a wife named Lorie. Shaun has three daughters, Caitlyn and Samantha, and Lori. Aaahhhhhh! I'm a person from the Bedford, btw. :-)


Klaus said...

Hey Shaun,

You don't know me but I was looking for another irishlibertarian and came upon your blog. Since I am also a Christian libertarian, my grandmother resisted the Nazis in WWII Germany, and I've just been reading about Arnold von Winkelried in this Stephen Halbrook book "Target Switzerland: Swiss Armed Neutrality in World War II", I figured I better post, since I don't believe in coincidences ;).

Nice blog and glad I stumbled upon it. We have a battle on our hands but freedom always wins in the end, so keep the faith!

Nik Ludwig
Live Free or Die

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